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Arts and Entertainment

Today's Movie Openings - Friday, 01.05.07

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Welcome to January, the month when studios traditionally take the shitty movies they've held off releasing the rest of the year and dump them onto unsuspecting audiences.

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer -- Synesthesia is the coolest disorder ever! This is a neurological condition in which two or more bodily senses are entangled in "abnormal" ways (i.e. people with synesthesia might see a different color for each letter of the alphabet or smell a different scent for each musical note). It's kind of like the effect you want but can never fully achieve with psychedelic drugs. German director Tom Tykwer (Run, Lola, Run) brings to the screen Patrick Suskind's best-selling novel about a sociopathic synesthete in 18th century Paris. Born without any bodily odor and endowed with a superior sense of smell, Jean-Baptiste Grenouille (Ben Whishaw) becomes a perfumer and a murderer in his quest to create the perfect scent.

Absolute Wilson - A documentary about avant-garde theater director and playwright Robert Wilson.
Children of Men - Alfonso Cuaron's latest film, which everyone I know who has seen it swears is the most awesome film of the year, goes into wide release today.
Code Name: The Cleaner - Remember those days when Cedric the Entertainer used to be in movies that were entertaining? In this "comedy" co-starring Nicolette Sheridan he plays a regular guy who gets involved in a government conspiracy after getting amnesia from being hit in the head by mysterious assailants.
Freedom Writers - Hilary Swank needs a new agent. After winning an Oscar for Boys Don't Cry her next big film (and I'm not talking about something she was contractually obligated to do from her pre-Oscar days, I'm talking about the next major movie she willingly signed onto) is the comically crappy sci-fi thriller The Core. Then she wins an Oscar for Million Dollar Baby, and what does she do? She makes Freedom Writers, which looks like an ABC After School Special meets Stand & Deliver. Onscreen poetry is always rocky terrain (anyone remember Tupac and Janet Jackson in Poetic Justice?), especially so when it's another story about an idealistic, young teacher who comes to the inner-city and ennobles everyone with her whiteness. Yeah, I'm a cynic, but when I read a news item a few weeks ago about Hilary Swank dating her agent, John Campisi, it all made sense. Perhaps her New Year's resolution should be to stop mixing business with pleasure.
Happily N'Ever After - A CG movie about the semi-dark side of fairytales. Sigourney Weaver and Sarah Michelle Gellar lead the cast as the evil stepmother who's trying to take over Fairy Tale Land and the plucky stepdaughter who won't let that happen.
Home of the Brave - If you don't go see this Iraq War-themed drama starring Samuel L. Jackson, 50 Cent and Jessica Biel, haven't the terrorists already won?